From a $4M VC investment to a $360M exit: The acquisition of PlaySimple by Swedish gaming giant

The deal, one of the largest among gaming startups in the Indian startup ecosystem, is expected to help MTG to expand its presence in geographies like India.

Sweden-based Modern Times Group (MTG), a publically listed gaming giant, has acquired Bengaluru-based game developing startup PlaySimple for $360 million. The deal, one of the largest among gaming startups in the Indian startup ecosystem, is expected to help MTG to expand its presence in geographies like India.

There is also a performance-based earn-out payment of SEK 1,287 million in aggregate. Since its inception, PlaySimpl has raised a mere $4 million in funding from Elevation Capital and Chiratae Ventures. The startup has seen rapid growth since its inception, growing its revenue by 144 percent in the 2020 calendar year to $83 million, with an adjusted EBITDA of $18 million.

The strong momentum has continued into 2021, with estimated H1 revenues of $60-64 million — up approximately 82 percent.

MTG’s Group President and CEO Maria Redin said,

“PlaySimple is a rapidly growing and highly profitable games studio that quickly has established itself as one of the leading global developers of free-to-play word games, an exciting new genre for MTG. An experienced management team and focused, data driven operating model has allowed PlaySimple to develop multiple game hits especially popular with the growing global audience of female gamers."

The team at PlaySimple

"PlaySimple’s adtech and cross-promotion competencies, which have played a pivotal role in their own journey can in time allow us to accelerate the growth of our whole gaming vertical. Expanding our geographical footprint into the Indian subcontinent will also provide access to one of the best talent pools in the world," she added.

Incorporated in November 2014 by brothers Siddharth Jain and Siddhanth Jain – with fellow co-founders Preeti Reddy, and Suraj Nalin, PlaySimple is focused on mobile games across the categories of trivia, word, and puzzle. PlaySimple has approximately 215 full-time employees. 

On the acquisition, Siddharth said,

“We’re delighted to join the MTG family – MTG’s approach to investments offers us creative freedom, and the opportunities created by the GamingCo really resonate with our team. We’re excited to have found a new home for our company, one where our team can learn and grow alongside our fellow companies.”

PlaySimpl has a live portfolio of nine games, including successful titles such as Daily Themed Crossword, Word Trip, Word Jam, and Word Wars, with over 75 million installs and seven million MAUs.

The company also has four additional new games in the pipeline to be launched in 2021, and is expanding into the card games genre.

In the last few months, MTG has acquired Hutch, Ninja Kiwi, and now PlaySimple, in order to accelerate the build-up of a highly attractive gaming vertical.

On a pro forma basis, the company has generated revenues of approximately $514 million in 2020 and $135 million in Q1 2021 with monthly (MAU) and daily active users (DAU) of approximately 30 million and six million respectively.

Edited by Kanishk Singh